Kyle Busch Completes Indy Sweep With Brickyard 400 Winby Hunter Thomas July 24, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Kyle Busch completed the race weekend sweep at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday after dominating to win the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard.
On Sunday afternoon, 31-year old Kyle Busch became the first driver is NASCAR history to sweep the Coors Light Pole Awards and win both events between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series in a weekend.
“It’s so cool because it hasn’t been done before,” said Busch in reference to sweeping the race weekend. “I’ve tried and been successful at being able to do a lot of things that others haven’t been able to do before. I guess I give myself more chances than others because I run more of those races. It helps you and when it helps you win on Sunday, that’s what makes everything so worthwhile on those Saturday races. I can’t say enough about everyone on that NOS Energy Drink Camry – the guys on Saturday do a good job too helping prepare me and being able to do this stuff on Sunday.”
Not only did Busch sweep the weekend, but with 149 laps led, Busch was out in front of the field for more laps than any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver in history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sunday’s win marked back-to-back years that Busch has won the prestigious event. The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry now becomes the only driver to join Brad Keselowski with four wins so far this season.
“Yeah, just a great weekend for us and such a special weekend, too, being able to win a Brickyard 400 and have that opportunity come our way last year and then to be able to back it up and win again here this weekend was special in its own right,” Busch said.
Although Kyle Busch dominated the event, the four cautions in the final laps certainly didn’t make the win an easy task. With just nine laps to go, a caution was thrown for debris in Turn 1, and that set the field up for a wild finish.
As soon as the field went back to green, Carl Edwards got sideways, clipped Ryan Newman and went hard into the outside wall in Turn 1. Brad Keselowski also made contact with Edwards and went towards the wall with him too. As Newman slid down the track, he collected Ryan Blaney, who is on the outside looking in to this year’s Chase cutoff. With the 36th place finish, Blaney falls from 16th in the championship standings to 18th, only 14 points back from Kyle Larson in 15th. Larson currently holds the final transfer position into the Chase now that Tony Stewart is above the top-30 in points.
“I didn’t really see much,” Blaney said. “I unfortunately got back there, and I didn’t see who got together. I thought I was by it and then the 31 spun out and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I’ll have to rewatch it on replay, but it stinks. I thought we had a decent car. We kind of put ourselves in a hole and we were trying to fight back from that and this just made a bad day worse. We’ll just go to Pocono next week and try to get better.”
Once the red flag was lifted after seven minutes and 25 seconds for cleanup, the field got the green flag with just two laps to go; however, as the leaders made their way down the backstretch, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer got together mid-pack and crashed into the inside wall.
On the NASCAR Overtime restart, Jamie McMurray cut in front of Tony Stewart and misjudged, sending his No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet into the Turn 1 grass and then back up the track and into Ryan Newman. Brian Scott was also involved in the accident.
When the field finally went back to green to begin the second attempt at a NASCAR Overtime, Kyle Busch set sail and never looked back as he defended his Brickyard 400 title. Even though Busch and his team were solid all afternoon long, it all came down to the clutch performances on the late-race restarts.
“Yeah, the repeat ability there was something I wasn’t looking forward to,” Busch said about the late-race restarts. “I certainly didn’t want one, let alone five of them or however many there were. When that caution came out with 10, 11 to go, whatever it was, that was sort of the kick in the caboodle for me that I just didn’t want to see that. We just wanted to have the race go green to the end. We had a really good long‑run car, so I felt like we’d be able to hold off those guys behind us and then we had all those restarts, and you never know what is going to happen on those restarts.”
Finishing behind Busch was his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth. Four-time Brickyard 400 winner, Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-three. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Paul Menard completed the top-10.
Indiana’s Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, who also calls the Hoosier State his hometown made an extra lap following the checkered flag on Sunday. The two drivers rode side-by-side saluting the fans. Stewart finished 11th in his final start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a fulltime driver in the series, and Jeff Gordon finished 13th after coming out of retirement to sub for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Between the two drivers, they have seven Brickyard 400 victories.
“I knew when we got the checkered we just didn’t want to come in just yet,” Stewart said. “I wanted to run one more lap and Jeff was around us and before that last green run I told my spotter to go get his spotter and said after this thing is over, we need to go a lap around here together because most likely is the last time we’ll both get a chance to do that. I couldn’t think of a better guy to share that moment with than Jeff.”
Kevin Harvick continues to lead the championship standings by 24 points over Brad Keselowski. Kurt Busch is third, 44 points back.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will visit Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 31 for the Pennsylvania 400. The race will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images